Isabel Allende Additional Biography

Biography

The daughter of a Chilean diplomat, Isabel Allende was born in Lima, Peru. Following her parents’ divorce, she lived first with her grandparents in Santiago and later with her mother and stepfather in Europe and the Middle East. She returned to Chile as a young woman and began her career as a television and newsreel journalist and as a writer for a feminist journal.

In 1973, Allende found herself at the center of Chile’s turbulent political life when her uncle and godfather, the country’s Marxist president Salvador Allende, was assassinated during a military coup. In the months that followed, Allende worked to oppose the new dictatorship headed by General Pinochet until fears for her safety led Allende to move to Venezuela with her husband and two children.

Allende’s first novel, The House of the Spirits, was published to international acclaim. It is a family saga set against a backdrop of political upheaval in an unnamed South American country. Her second book, Of Love and Shadows, followed two years later and also drew on her country’s troubled history. Both works placed Allende firmly within the Latin American tradition of novels that take a strong stand in their fictionalized portrayals of political events. Allende’s third novel, Eva Luna, traces the extraordinary life of its title character and the Austrian journalist who becomes her lover. All three novels are examples of the literary style known as Magical Realism, in which strange, supernatural occurrences are intermingled with everyday events. Allende’s work, however, brings a distinctly feminist perspective to a literary style that is predominantly male.

Following her divorce from her husband of twenty years, Allende moved to the United States in the 1980’s, where she remarried and settled in California. Her next novel, The Infinite Plan, draws on her American experience in its story of a man’s life from his childhood in the barrios of Los Angeles to his adult search for meaning and happiness. In 1995, Allende published one of her most personal works, Paula, a chronicle of her daughter’s death following a long illness. Allende examines her experience as a woman and a mother in her portrayal of love, pain, and loss.

Allende’s position as a woman working within the traditions of Latin American literature has led her to create strikingly original stories and characters, and she remains a consistently intriguing and rewarding writer.

Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Isabel Allende (ahl-YEHN-dee), daughter of Francisca Llona Barros and Tomás Allende and niece of former Chilean president Salvador Allende Gossens, was born in Lima, Peru, where her father was serving as a diplomat. When she was three years old, her parents divorced and her mother took her home to Santiago, Chile.

She spent her childhood in the home of her maternal grandparents Isabela and Augustín Llona. Along with her mother, who encouraged her storytelling, they greatly influenced her understanding of people and love of writing. Her grandmother, a spiritualist, believed the supernatural was an integral part of everyday living, and she routinely held séances and used tarot cards. Her grandfather, a conservative landowner, was a moody and domineering man. It was this couple and their home from which she drew material for her first novel, La casa de los espíritus (1982; The House of the Spirits, 1985). The household also included an uncle who filled the house with books, and as a child she read widely in the literatures of many countries. Though her contacts with her father ceased, she remained close to his family, especially to his brother Salvador Allende Gossens, a doctor and socialist politician.

Allende attended private schools in Santiago, and following her mother’s remarriage to another diplomat she lived abroad. When she was fifteen, she returned home. A year later she left school to take a job as a secretary for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in Chile. Her work involved contacts with journalists, and it was not long before she began her journalism career.

For more than ten years, Allende’s life and career proceeded smoothly. In 1963, she married an engineer, Miguel Frias, and they had two children: Paula and Nicolas. From 1967 through 1974 she served as writer and editor for the feminist magazine Paula. During this time she met the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who told her that her real talent lay in storytelling. From 1970 through 1975 she worked for television channels 7 and 13 in Santiago, where she acquired popularity by conducting interviews and hosting a comedy program. In the early 1970’s, she also gained recognition for her involvement in making documentaries and for writing plays and stories for children. Her uncle, meanwhile, continued his political career, and in 1970, Salvador Allende Gossens became the first freely elected socialist president in Latin America.

Her life abruptly changed on September 11, 1973, when General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte led a military coup that led to the death of her uncle and overthrew his socialist government. “I think I have divided my life [into] before that day and after that day,” Allende told Publishers Weekly interviewer Amanda Smith in 1985. “In that moment, I realized that everything was possible—that violence was a dimension that was always...

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Biography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Isabel Allende has commented that when people lose their homeland and become detached from their past, memories become more important. Those memories of Chilean and Hispanic people and places are Allende’s subjects. Her themes, the search for love and self-knowledge, are universal. Using rich plots interwoven with a kaleidoscope of characters, she examines the tumultuous social and political heritage of Latin America. Her Magical Realism produces a blend of the real and the supernatural that adds a fuller landscape to the worlds she creates. These qualities have made her one of the best-known writers of Latin America.

Biography

Allende (pronounced "Ah-yen-day") was born August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru, the daughter of Chilean diplomat Tomás Allende and his wife,...

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Biography

Isabel Angelica Allende was born on August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru, to parents Tomas, a Chilean diplomat, and Francisca (Llona Barros)...

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Biography

Allende was born on August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru, the first child of affluent Chilean parents: her parents were Tomas, a diplomat and the...

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Biography

In 1973, author Isabel Allende fled Chile with her husband and their two children after her uncle, Salvador Allende, then president of Chile,...

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Biography

Although she has traveled around the world, and has lived in the United States for more than a decade, Isabel Allende considers Latin America...

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Biography

Allende was born on August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru. Tomás Allende, Allende’s father, was a Chilean diplomat. Allende’s uncle and...

(The entire section is 351 words.)